CARSON, Calif. – He won’t be taking the field during Saturday’s match against D.C. United or any time soon for the LA Galaxy, but one of the Galaxy Academy’s highest touted players Raul Mendiola is starting to blossom.
Mendiola started and went 90 minutes during LA’s scoreless draw with the Colorado Rapids reserves on Sunday. Known for his skill with the ball and his impressive displays going forward, the 19-year-old put forth perhaps his most mature performance for the Galaxy reserves. In addition to his characteristic ability to make darting runs behind the defense and combine with the forwards, Mendiola performed aptly on defense as he was able to negate Colorado’s ability to create along the right side of midfield.
“The hard work pays off. I know that I still have to work on some things, but I did well. I just want to keep working hard,” Mendiola told LA Galaxy Insider on Sunday noting that he believes that fitness remains one of the keys to his continued improvement. “I’ve learned from the veteran guys and I try to learn their positioning, both with the ball and without it. I feel like I’m growing little by little and if I keep patience then I’ll continue to grow.”
And Galaxy reserve team head coach Curt Onalfo is beginning to see that evolution.
“I thought Mendiola was menacing for a good 60 minutes. He fatigued a little bit, but he impressed me. He made a lot of things happen and you can see his quality in the final third,” said Onalfo. “He’s turning into a complete player and it’s good to see.”
Maturity is important for the young midfielder from San Bernadino via Ciudad Juarez, who has trained frequently with the Galaxy first team over the past year. At the start of training camp, Mendiola was not present as LA coaching staff—both at the first team and academy level—noted that they’d like to see more maturity from the youngster and after some personal reflection, Mendiola believes that the personal growth is happening.
“Last year was one of my first times with the first team and it was tough for me to get used to it. Over that period though, I matured a lot,” said Mendiola. “I have a mindset and I’ve talked to my family about my goals of being a professional soccer player, so I have it in my mind that I need to stick to this.”
The LA Galaxy spent the day in transit to Washington, D.C. ahead of Saturday’s clash with D.C. United at RFK Stadium, but there were plenty of important stories ahead transpiring across the soccer world.
*Former C.F. Monterrey manager Victor Manuel Vucetich was appointed head coach of the Mexican National Team just days after El Tri slipped to fourth in CONCACAF Qualifying with their 2-0 defeat to the United States. Vucetich becomes El Tri's third manager in five days after interim head coach Luis Fernando Tena took over after the dismissal of Jose Manuel De La Torre following Mexico's 1-0 loss to Honduras last week. Vucetich rose to prominence with Monterrey where he was dismissed last month following a slow start to the Apertura only four months after leading Monterrey to their third consecutive CONCACAF Champions League title—which included a semifinal victory over the Galaxy.
*The LA Galaxy’s much awaited clash with Seattle Sounders FC is still two matches away, but the Sounders are hoping to have one of their key players on the field against the two-time defending MLS Cup champions. Brad Evans, who was forced to withdraw from the U.S. National Team’s World Cup qualifying campaign due to a calf injury, is steadily returning to full fitness according to Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid.
*According to a report by Goal.com, the opening of the San Jose Earthquakes new stadium near Mineta San José International Airport may be delayed until 2015. The Quakes had previously delayed the stadium, which is officially slated to open midway through the 2014 season. If the stadium is delayed, the Galaxy may make two trips to Buck Shaw Stadium next season—provided one of their matches is not held at Stanford Stadium as has been the course of action over the past two seasons. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the Earthquakes declined comment on the report.
Think Mexico will qualify for the World Cup? Hoping for a depleted or full strength Sounders side? Will the Earthquakes new stadium open before 2015?
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In the latest edition of "View from the Booth," Joe Tutino and Clint Mathis analyze the LA Galaxy's upcoming match against D.C. United.
Check it out below...
Giovanni Trapattoni departs as Republic of Ireland manager following World Cup qualifying defeat to Austria
If LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane continues his international career with the Republic of Ireland this October, then he’ll do so under a new manager for the first time since 2008.
The Football Association of Ireland announced on Wednesday that head coach Giovanni Trapattoni and his assistant Marco Tardelli had departed by mutual consent. The move comes a day after the Ireland’s 1-0 defeat to Austria, which effectively ended their hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Italian leaves after a successful five-year tenure that saw the Irish qualify for UEFA Euro 2012, their first major international tournament in a decade as he compiled a 26-16-22 record in 64 matches. Trapattoni nearly guided Ireland to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but were defeated by France in a highly-controversial qualification playoff.
Following Ireland’s defeat to Austria on Tuesday and prior to the announcement of Trapattoni's departure, Keane was asked about his, now former, international manager.
"It is very difficult for a player just coming off a result and speaking about a manager who has done very, very well for this country," said Keane. "He has been a credit to his country and he has carried himself the way a man of his stature should."
CARSON, Calif. -- The idea of the LA Galaxy fielding a USL team in the near future have been bandied around by club President Chris Klein and Technical Director Jovan Kirovski and on Wednesday, LA head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that the club is hoping to field one in the "next year."
When asked about current NASL loanees Bryan Gaul and Kenney Walker and the issues that come with loaning players to other teams, Arena noted that the possibility of a Galaxy team playing in USL PRO may be happening sooner rather than later.
"We're going to try to do [this] ourselves next year and have our own USL team. We think that a number of our players this year could be benefit like Villarreal, McBean, Sorto, Gaul, Walker, Cochrane, Hoffman. Those type of players when they're not getting consistent minutes, if we have our own USL team then we have the advantage of them going there on a full time basis or moving them back and forth," said Arena, who noted that it would be a separate team from LA's current USL Pro club, the Los Angeles Blues. "The Reserve League still isn't the right mechanism and it's very difficult to do with the schedules and everything else. I think that a separate team, separate league, with more players is the way to go."
Arena stated that programs like this will "be the way that MLS teams go in the future" while also admitting that the logistics were far from sorted out as the yet to be formed team currently has no location and is unlikely to ever play double matches at Galaxy home games.
As previously noted, Klein and Kirovski have both mentioned the idea of the Galaxy fielding such a team with the Galaxy Technical Director hinting during an interview with LA Galaxy Insider back in July that it may be in conjunction with the club's new Galaxy Under-23 team.
“We’re looking for a place we can evaluate where our Homegrown college kids and have a training environment for them in the offseason,” Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. “It’s something where we’re looking for the possibilities of being a USL team. That means that we could sign kids earlier, it should serve as a stepping stone to our first team.
“We can also have our young academy kids go through there,” Kirovski added. “We had some of our U-18’s who played last year play [on Tuesday] as well as some of the U-16’s, we also had college kids, so it’s a chance to for us to keep track of them. It’s great for these young kids to have a place to play and maybe, one day, play in our first team.”
Kirovski also reiterated this point during his Galaxy All-Access Podcast with Joe Tutino last week.
Thoughts on the move? Where would you want them to play?
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Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and the U.S. National Team are on their way to Brazil, but LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and Panama still have plenty of work to do.
Panama drew Honduras 2-2, which allowed the United States to qualify for their seventh consecutive World Cup. Carlo Costly put Honduras up 1-0 in the first half, but Colorado Rapids forward Gabriel Torres equalized in the 50th minute. Los Catrachos went up in the 61st minute off a goal from Wilson Palacios, but Panama tied up the score in stoppage time with a goal from Roberto Chen.
Los Canaleros face a tall order to reach Brazil as they face Mexico at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Oct. 11 and the already qualified U.S. at home on Oct. 15.
A classic Instagram video courtesy of U.S. kit man Jesse Bignami of the U.S. celebration at the end of the Panama match can be found below.
Dos a cero lives.
The U.S. National Team defeated Mexico 2-0 on Tuesday as LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan assisted on Eddie Johnson’s game winner in the 48th minute and scored a goal of his own in the 78th minute. With the scoreline, the U.S. has now defeated El Tri by a 2-0 scoreline in the last four World Cup qualifiers (2002, 2005, 2009).
The U.S. have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to Panama's 2-2 draw with Honduras. This the seventh consecutive World Cup appearance for the Americans.
Full highlights of the U.S. victory over Mexico are below...
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane’s dreams of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup were effectively ended in Vienna on Tuesday when Ireland fell 1-0 to Austria on a late goal by Bayern Munich’s David Alaba.
The match was scoreless for 83 minutes with the Irish controlling wide stretches of the game, but Alaba found the back of the net with a right footed strike off a cross from Schalke 04's Christian Fuchs. Keane had an attempt to equalize in stoppage time, but his attempt went wide of the mark.
With the defeat, the Irish remain on 11 points while Austria move up to third place with 14 points just three points behind Sweden for second place in the group and a place in UEFA’s qualification playoffs. Due to the loss in Vienna and the long odds at qualification, the prevailing sentiment is that Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni will be removed from his position just a year after leading Ireland to their UEFA Euro 2012—their first major tournament in 10 years.
The question now becomes whether Keane will be called up for Ireland’s remaining World Cup qualifiers in October when they take on group leader Germany in Berlin on Oct. 11 and Kazakhstan on Oct. 15 in Dublin. If Keane is called up for those qualifiers, he’d likely miss LA’s Oct. 16 match against the Montreal Impact at StubHub Center.
CARSON, Calif. – After suffering a hamstring injury during the LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartaginés on Aug. 20, Robbie Rogers returned to the training field on Tuesday.
During the portion of training open for media availability, Rogers was spotted running on the far side of the Galaxy’s training field. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena confirmed that it was Rogers’ first appearance at training since his injury-shortened 44 minute shift against the Costa Rican side. Following training, Arena admitted that Rogers is moving forward, but there was no timeline in place on when he may return to full training or game day action.
When Rogers does return to the field, he'll likely be in for a positional battle as rookie Gyasi Zardes has done well to stake his claim for the left midfield spot to date.
It doesn't get any bigger than this.
The United States will take on Mexico on Tuesday in an important World Cup qualifier that will help determine whether or not the two countries can qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With a victory over Mexico and a Honduras win or draw against Panama will put the U.S. through to Brazil. Meanwhile, Mexico is reeling as El Tri fell 3-2 to Honduras last week -- leading to the dismissial of head coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" De La Torre -- and currently sit in fourth place in World Cup qualifying just a point ahead of fifth place Panama.
In a Q&A looking back on the first U.S. vs. Mexico match in Columbus, MLSsoccer.com's Jeff Bradley talks with one of my favorite people Clint "Cleetus" Mathis.
Ahead of Tuesday's match, U.S. Soccer has provided a video preview with thoughts from several players including Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez.
Check it out below...